I was first introduced to this puzzle by my wife's grandmother. The way I recall it is that we were sitting, talking for a while and she just sort of randomly got up, went to the shelf, and brought back this strange looking wooden thing. "Figure it out," she said. "All the pieces have to make it to the other side, one at a time, and a smaller one can never go below a bigger one." I spent the next couple hours trying and failing.
Now, about five years later, I have finally gotten around to making my own version of this classic puzzle. It's incredibly simple in its construction but it can be incredibly challenging in its execution. Truly, a fascinating brain teaser.
Altogether, the build took me about an hour including documenting time, so it's a pretty quick and simple project.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Here's a list of the materials and tools I used for this project.
- Wooden Board: I used pine because it's cheap and I had it on hand already. If you make yours the same way I made mine, you'll need around three feet of board.
- Dowel Rod: Available from just about anywhere for a little more than pocket change.
- A Drill
- Drill Bits: You need one drill bit that is the same diameter as the dowel rod you bought, mine was 5/16", and another one that is slightly bigger, mine was 3/8".
- A Saw: I actually used a table saw to make most of my cuts, but you could use any kind of wood saw, just know that your cuts may not be square
- A Square and/or Ruler: My square doubles as my ruler most of the time
- Wood Glue
- Wood Finish: I used polyurethane because it's easy to use and I had some on hand, but you can use tung oil, paint, various stains, and a whole host of others
Please be careful while working with sharp tools. Obviously, a saw can cut skin and a drill can pierce skin so please use caution and your brain while you are working with the tools.
Please note that you will often see the tower made with circles instead of squares. Other than aesthetic value, this has no bearing on the puzzle and squares are easier to make than circles so that's what I did.